"Networking the failed state" is an interesting paper

Christian Bueger and Felix Bethke presented this piece at the 51st Annual Conference of the International Studies Association, New Orleans, February 2010.The paper basically recognizes that international relations is being and should be studied in less “social” ways and instead uses some of the topography and geography of ANT to do so. Interesting stuff.

Here’s the abstract:

Abstract: The discipline of International Relations is increasingly studied as a social
phenomenon. In contrast to universalist understandings of IR as global knowledge,
sociologies of IR have localized and pluralized our understanding of the discipline. IR is
understood as a conglomerate of national communities. These national communities are
depicted as each having their own culture, organizations and knowledge and are seen as
interdependent to each other, while they all circulate around a centre, the North American
community of IR scholars. We challenge such communitarian understandings of the
discipline. Basing our discussion in Actor-Network Theory (ANT), we argue to conceive of
IR as different spatial form, that is a network or rhizome. Such an understanding enables us
to study the relations of IR to other entities, to emphasis actor and practices as constituting
the discipline and to address issues of power relations, that go beyond inter-community
power relations. To make a case which phenomena come into sight from an ANT
perspective we study the case of research on Failed States. We disentangle the network, and
sketch how IR is enroled as well as transformed.

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

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